Forecasting Best Practices

September 15, 2022

Forecasting Best Practices

We recently held a webinar in our best practices series to help retailers better understand how to forecast in Toolio. We brought a real expert, our big guns, to the table to cover this important topic, our VP of Planning Chris Conroy. Here’s a glimpse of what he covered.

Toolio’s Item Plan Module Forecast Function

New Features to Love

Minutes 2-4: Chris gave a quick look at what Toolio’s current item plan module forecasting function looks like, along with briefly shouting out recently released new features. Specifically, he talked about the like for like method, generating size spreads and discount calculations

Forecasting a Core Product

Using History, Trends & Timing

Minutes 4-14: After the initial overview, Chris got into the nitty gritty of what it takes to forecast a core product. In his demonstration, he based the forecast off the last four weeks since core products are forecasted more frequently (roughly once per month) than others. He highlighted the cells that represent the four weeks, and explained that they could be applied to as many weeks go-forward as you like. Chris then walked viewers through how to generate receipts and check your history based off of reports that are derived straight from the forecasting. 

Minute 15: At this point, Chris used the seasonality from his merchandise plan to forecast, then applied the present trends and the associated numbers going forward. For retailers having a big growth year, he covered how to use the trend you’re building in your merchandise plan. Then, he gave a little preview into how the “like for like” feature works, using history from another color/product to trend the current product. 

Forecasting a Core Product With Stock Outages

What Else to Know

Minute 20: A common problem among retailers occurs when there are stock outages of a core problem, so Chris shared an overview of how to forecast for this. He gave a peek into a more traditional style forecast, similar to what some may do in Excel prior to having a system like Toolio. 

Minute 22: Then he demonstrated in Toolio how you can dial into each week from when you started selling the given product. If you plan by collection at first, you can adjust it as much as you like from there. He showed how you can use an out-of-the-box view to make it look like a merchandise plan module, and capped it off by providing a drop-down look view of all styles so the gross sales units by item across the weeks was visible. 

Other Forecasting Scenarios

No Comp History, New Products & More

Minute 30: Chris also gave an overview of some tips for handling particular forecasting situations retailers might come across. He talked about how to forecast a current season product without comp history, advising that you save each forecasted profile so you don’t have to override the default each time. He also said to use whatever trend time you’d like, and that you’re not forced to stick to the previous four weeks if you don’t want to. 

Minute 35: In the scenario of forecasting a brand new product, Chris covered how to check your spreads and generate item plans. He also touched on the “like for like” feature once more, showing how you can filter by another SKU to forecast for a new style and then use something called “spread current in volume forecasting,” which allows you to use what you’ve planned in the assortment planning module. 

Minute 40: Chris then detailed how to use a predetermined size curve when forecasting in SKU-intensive areas, like footwear or kids, where there is a large size spread. Finally, he showed how to forecast with a discount, tapping into the new discount calculation feature and saving it as a scenario so he can compare it without having to make changes to the existing plan.

Forecasting Deep Dive

Final Questions & Webinar Invitation

Minute 51: To finish the webinar, Chris opened up the floor to attendees who had further questions about forecasting in item planning. All in all, it was a very thorough webinar on a very important topic. 

If you’re curious about specific forecasting scenarios and/or eager to view the entire webinar, click here. Always remember our customer success team is here to help you, as well. Stay tuned for more features and updates in the near future (like adding forecasting to the merchandise plan)!

Andrea Lechner-Becker
Head of Marketing